Sunday, 16 September 2012

Kazakhstan – The first few weeks back in the Steppe

August 18-September 7


Hello everyone!


After an eventful summer full of joy, happiness and pride, a return to the reality of working life was in order. As you may remember, I work in a British school in Kazakhstan’s capital city, Astana, and we are about to commence our second year.



I return to the world’s largest landlocked country with a great deal of British pride bursting from my very being. The United Kingdom has had an incredible and unique summer of success, and the people of the island have never seemingly been so publicly proud of the flag and their country.



From the Olympics to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the country has been brushed with strokes of elation. I wasn’t lucky enough to get to the main events in London, but was more than content with being in the crowd for two Olympic football matches in Cardiff.



It is common knowledge that the Great British team (we can stop with the corporate ‘Team GB’ moniker now, surely?) has unparalleled success in their home Olympics.



What is perhaps less known is that the country I work and live also achieved their best medal return. Kazakhstan, with stellar performances from the likes of Alexandr Vinokourov, Olga Rypakova and Ilya Ilyin contributing to a tally of 7 golds and 13 medals. The parade for the medallists was a lavish ceremony in Astana, which I unfortunately just missed.



The city itself doesn’t seem to have changed spectacularly since we left in the summer. In defence of the capital, we have only been away for nine weeks, but judging from the speed of some of the construction that took place last year I was half-expecting a brand new, shiny building to have appeared from the floor of the dusty steppe.



School opened on September 1st. Before that time we reminded ourselves of the various pleasures that this city possesses when basked in scorching sunshine. As reality slowly bites and the mountain of work slowly builds, opportunities for new adventures may become scarce. In the meantime, I can content myself with looking forward to (maybe) competing in the next Olympics in Rio. Well, that’s my justification for buying a table tennis table…




It is very nice to be back in this most intriguing and fascinating country, and to have a purpose once more. There is plenty to pique our interest in what promises to be a Super September, so stay tuned!



Love you all



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